Al-Attiyah tops WRC 2 in Spain
Qatari survives dramatic day to lead support class
Title-chasing Nasser Al-Attiyah held a comfortable lead in WRC 2 after Friday’s savage opening leg of RallyRACC - Rally de España.
The Qatari, driving a Ford Fiesta RRC, was 2min 00.4sec clear of the R5 version of Julien Maurin, with Robert Barrable a further 2min 27.5sec behind in another Fiesta R5.
Victory on the mixed surface rally for Al-Attiyah would make him favourite to land the WRC 2 crown, especially with fellow title contender Karl Kruuda languishing in eighth after rolling his Fiesta S2000 out of the lead.
Al-Attiyah won five of the six special stages and watched a string of potential challengers fall by the wayside.
Bernardo Sousa, who had an outside chance of the title, retired from second in SS3 when he rolled, while a damaged clutch stopped Sébastien Chardonnet’s Citroen DS3 R5 in the final test when Al-Attiyah’s closest pursuer.
Nicolas Fuchs lost third with a damaged radiator in the last stage and Valeriy Gorban was another afternoon casualty when the Ukraine driver retired his Mini John Cooper S2000 from third.
Newly-crowned JWRC champion Stéphane Lefebvre, making his WRC 2 debut, crashed in SS2 and Jourdan Serderidis, who initially retired in Thursday night’s Barcelona street stage after hitting a barrier, went out for a second time after brake problems.
Even Maurin and Barrable didn’t emerge unscathed. The Frenchman overcame a sticking throttle and Barrable dropped two minutes in the final stage with broken power steering.
In the Production Cup within WRC 2, Juan Carlos Alonso retired, allowing Benito Guerra to lead and hold fourth in WRC 2.
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